Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bank Execs Testify at First Financial Inquiry Panel Hearing

Senators Conrad and Isakson Created the Bipartisan Commission to Investigate Causes of Financial Meltdown

Senators Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., released the following statement today after members of the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission questioned top Wall Street executives at its first hearing to investigate the circumstances that led to the near total collapse of the nation’s economy. Senators Conrad and Isakson teamed up last year to write legislation that created the commission.

“Even as the economy begins to turn the corner, it is more important than ever to understand what factors contributed to the near total collapse of our financial system. The American people have every right to know where mistakes were made. If it is discovered that laws were broken, those bad actors must be held accountable,” Senator Conrad said.

“Based on the questions that members of the commission are asking today, it is clear they understand the critical importance of making sure we stay focused and we get the answers to what caused this financial collapse. It’s what the American people deserve,” Senator Isakson said. “There are many ideas about what happened and what should be done to fix it, but let's first get all the facts on the table so we can move forward with due knowledge and in due course.”

Senators Conrad and Isakson said the 10-member, bipartisan Financial Crisis Commission is modeled after the 9-11 Commission, which thoroughly and independently investigated the failures leading up to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and made recommendations to prevent another attack in the future.

Along those lines, the Financial Crisis Commission has until December of this year to investigate the circumstances that led to the current economic crisis. The panel has full subpoena power and the authority to refer to the U.S. Attorney General and state attorneys general any evidence that institutions or individuals may have violated existing laws. The Commission will report its findings to the President, the Congress and the American people by the end of 2010.

The special independent commission is made up of leading experts in the field, including economists, academics and former members of Congress.
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